State Watch

Texas property tax bill excludes divorced, LGBTQ couples from getting relief

A new Texas House bill that provides property tax relief based on the size of a family excludes LGBTQ couples and divorced parents with children, among other parties, from getting the tax advantage.

Texas House Bill 2889, introduced this week by state Rep. Bryan Slaton (R), would supply a homestead tax credit to “certain married couples” in the state with either biological or adopted children of any age.

Qualifying couples under the bill are entitled to annual tax relief corresponding to the size of their family, with four children equal to a possible 40 percent property tax reduction. Couples with 10 or more children may pay no property tax at all, according to the bill.

But the GOP-backed legislation does not propose granting tax relief to all Texas families, and only couples in heterosexual marriages are entitled to benefits. Couples with at least one partner who has been divorced are also ineligible. Couples who had or adopted children before they were married also can’t use those children to improve their tax liability.

“Supporting Texas means supporting Texas families,” Slaton wrote this week on social media. “Families are the building blocks of society. We must support families by making it easier for them to have and raise kids.”

“With HB 2889, Texas will start saying: ‘Get married, stay married, and be fruitful and multiply,’” Slaton added, a reference to a Christian sermon on marriage.

In a news release this week, Slaton said his bill intends to lift the state’s falling birth rate by establishing financial incentives for child-rearing. The proposed law is inspired by policies enacted in Poland and Hungary, he said.

Slaton did not directly acknowledge that his bill makes sure to exclude same-sex couples and those who have been divorced and remarried, which the Bible considers to be sins. During this legislative session, Slaton has also introduced bills to bar minors from attending drag performances and classify gender-affirming health care for transgender youth as child abuse under state law.

In June, the Texas Republican Party adopted a platform recognizing homosexuality as an “abnormal lifestyle choice” and opposing “all efforts to validate transgender identity.”

Tags LGBTQ rights Tax laws Texas

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